According to A Century of Pop Music: “By 1910, discs had assumed full dominance of the popular record market over wax cylinders…” And that advantage “expanded every year…”
Joel Whitburn explains, “Sheet music sales achieved an all-time high in 1910, with published estimates ranging from 30 million to substantially more. Two six-million sellers were ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart’ and ‘Down By the Old Mill Stream.'” I know both quite well, and I’m not nearly that old. “Not the new, but the old…”
Another popular song from 1910, Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet by Arthur Clough (#3) and the popular Haydn Quartet, among others.
Casey Jones – Billy Murray & the American Quartet (RCA Victor), 11 weeks at #1. Though the RIAA didn’t start certifying records until more than 40 years later, it was designated a gold single. It was “one of the biggest sellers of the entire acoustic recording era.” Billy Murray also had a #3 hit as a solo artist that same summer.
By the Light of the Silvery Moon – Billy Murray and the Haydn Quartet (RCA Victor), 9 weeks at #1. Billy Murray was ubiquitous in this period. The song also went to #2 as performed by both the Columbia Male Quartet and Ada Jones. The Tin Pan Alley standard was first performed on-stage by Lillian Lorraine in the “Ziegfeld Follies of 1909.” Another song that is still a classic over a century later.
Where the River Shannon Flows – Harry MacDonough, 6 weeks at #1. The Irish Swanee River.
Play That Barber-Shop Chord – Bert Williams, 6 weeks at #1. “Bert Williams (November 12, 1874 – March 4, 1922) was a Bahamian American and was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. In 1918, the New York Dramatic Mirror called Williams “one of the great comedians of the world.”
Every Little Movement – Harry MacDonough & Lucy Isabelle Marsh, 4 weeks at #1.
Call Me Up Some Rainy Afternoon – Ada Jones & American Quartet (Columbia), 4 weeks at #1. Written by Irving Berlin.
Meet Me To-Night In Dreamland – Henry Burr, 4 weeks at #1.
Carrie (Carrie Marry Harry) – Billy Murray, 2 weeks at #1.
In the Valley of Yesterday – Harry MacDonough (RCA Victor), 2 weeks at #1. Recorded in 1905.
Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! – Byron Harlan & Frank Stanley, 1 week at #1. Apparently recorded in 1907.